Turkey has recently introduced a new "Regulation on Ship Registries" that replaces the previous legislation which had been in force since 1957. The new Regulation was published in the Official Gazette after being issued with a presidential decree. It sets out the principles and procedures for the establishment and operation of new registries, registration of vessels, as well as the responsibilities of the registry officials.
The replacement of the outdated legislation is a welcome development, as it brings Turkish ship registries up to desired modern standards. The new Regulation can be seen as the codification of the practical operation of the registries.
While some provisions have been transferred from the previous legislation with minor amendments, new rules have also been introduced. For example, it is now prohibited to change the name of a vessel that has been involved in a crime without a transfer of title. The wording of the provision specifically refers to smuggling incidents, and therefore it is understood to be mainly focusing on small boats that operate in Turkish waters, but its impact on merchant vessels remains to be seen.
The interpretation and practical application of some provisions will be of particular interest. Previously, customs-related documents were not required when a vessel was being registered with a Turkish registry for the first time. However, a new provision now requires documentation issued pursuant to customs inspections to be submitted during registration.
Similarly, when a vessel is being transferred to a Turkish registry from a foreign registry, a document that provides ‘strong evidence of deletion from the foreign registry’ is required. Previously, a letter of undertaking providing for the submission of a duly issued deletion certificate in a prescribed period was sufficient. It is not yet clear whether the usual practice will continue or if the registry will interpret this provision differently.
Overall, the new Regulation is a positive development, providing clarity and eliminating certain theoretical questions. However, its practical application remains to be seen.
For further guidance on the new Regulation or registration matters before Turkish registries, please do not hesitate to contact us.